WP15's May session confirmed the decisions made by the Joint Meeting but had a whole lot more on its plate, with many amendments to ADR being adopted
The UN Economic Commission for Europe’s (UN ECE) Working Party on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (WP15) held its 106th session in Geneva this past 13 to 17 May. The main aim of the meeting was to review the decisions made by the earlier Joint Meeting of Experts on RID/ADR/ADN and to approve them for inclusion in the next, 2021 edition of ADR, the regulations governing the transport of dangerous goods by road throughout Europe and, increasingly, elsewhere in the world. There were also some road-specific proposals to be dealt with.
The meeting was chaired by Ariane Roumier (France), with Alfonso Simoni (Italy) sitting as vice-chair. It was attended by representatives from 25 voting nations and, as provided for by the terms of reference, representatives from Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia, acting as full members. Also in attendance were representatives from the EU, the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) and three non-governmental organisations.
The meeting was preceded by a short Conference of the Contracting Parties to ADR, which adopted by consensus a proposal from Portugal to delete the word ‘European’ from the title of the ADR Agreement. This change has been in the offing for some years and the gradual expansion of the usage of ADR as a model for the regulations for the transport of dangerous goods has meant the change is long overdue. A protocol of amendment was to be transmitted to all contracting parties and, if no objection is raised within six months, the amendment will be accepted and enter into force on 1 January 2021.
There had been no new contracting parties since the previous session, although the Working Party welcomed the accession of Tunisia to the protocol amending articles 1 (a), 14 (1) and 14 (3) (b) of ADR and encouraged the 14 countries that had not yet deposited the required legal instruments for the Protocol to enter into force to take the necessary steps to do so.
The representative of Nigeria reported that, since the country’s accession to ADR and five other UN agreements and conventions on road safety, a national seminar had been held in March 2019 under the auspices of the Special Envoy for Road Safety. Emphasising the importance that Nigeria is placing on ADR, the seminar discussed the provisions of those agreements and conventions and outlined effective ways to implement them.
JOINT MEETING DECISIONS
The Working Party reviewed and approved the amendments adopted by the Joint Meeting at its spring 2019 session (HCB October 2019, page 112; and page XXX of this issue).
The UK returned to special provision 671, on the assignment of a transport category to UN 3316 chemical and first aid kits for which no packing group is assigned, realising that the version adopted by the Joint Meeting needed correction. The Secretariat judged that this action did not meet the definition of ‘correction’ and would therefore need to be treated as an ‘amendment’. The UK was asked to initiate a multilateral special agreement to cover the issue, pending amendment of SP 671, if needed, at a future session. [This was initiated on 17 June as M321; to date it has been countersigned by five contracting parties.]
The EU representative confirmed to the Working Party that the mandate given by the European Commission (EC) to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) in 1995 relating to the development of standards applicable to the transport of dangerous goods would be revoked. This may well cause problems in the future and is something that the Joint Meeting is addressing.
PROPOSALS FOR AMENDMENT
In an informal document, Sweden sought opinions as to whether it would be appropriate to introduce the same braking requirements for EX/II trailers of categories O1 and O2 as apply to EX/III vehicles under paragraph 2.4 of Annex 5 of UN Regulation No 13. Several delegations asked for more time to study the issue; meanwhile Sweden may submit an official proposal at the next session.
Switzerland sought clarification of 220.127.116.11 concerning the certificate of approval for vehicles, following on from an informal document presented at the previous session. That paragraph states: “The next approval term shall, however, be related to the last nominal expiry date, if the technical inspection is performed within one month before or after that date.” This seems to conflict with the provisions in 18.104.22.168. Switzerland noted that 22.214.171.124 was introduced in 1997 (as a replacement for marginal 10 282 (4)) and that at the time the text was clearer.
Most of the delegations that spoke wished to maintain the possibility of performing the technical inspection within one month before or after the expiry date of the certificate of approval, which is useful in cases where the technical inspection of the vehicle and the ADR inspection are carried out by different authorities. Several, however, felt that if the inspection is carried out in the month following the expiry of the certificate of approval, the vehicle should not be used to transport dangerous goods in the meantime. In the end, it was decided to adopt an amended change, by adding a new paragraph after the first paragraph of 126.96.36.199:
The vehicle shall not be used for the carriage of dangerous goods after the nominal expiry date until the vehicle has a valid certificate of approval.
The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) raised the question of whether temperature monitoring should be required in the driver’s cab during temperature-controlled transport in refrigerated containers. At present, Chapter 9.6 applies only to completely insulated refrigerated vehicles, whereas 188.8.131.52.7 appears to indicate that it applies also to refrigerated containers. It seemed to the Working Party that, even if 9.6.1 were to be amended, further changes would be needed in 7.1.7. Cefic and the Netherlands agreed to work on a revised proposal, though work at other working parties such as the ADN Safety Committee would need to be taken into account.
Switzerland sought amendment of 184.108.40.206.1(k), which requires the tunnel code to be indicated on the transport document. At present, where no tunnel code is assigned to a substance, as indicated by a dash ‘(—)’ in column (15) of Table A of Chapter 3.2, no mention is required in the transport document. Switzerland felt it would avoid confusion if the dash should be entered on the document, noting that there are a number of UN entries that are not assigned a tunnel code but that nevertheless require and orange-coloured plate on the carrying vehicle.
The Working Party agreed that this would be helpful and adopted changes in the first and second sentences of 220.127.116.11.1(k) to add “or the mention ‘(—)’”.
On a similar topic, Switzerland submitted a proposal to amend special provision 363(I), which in the second indent says that “When the carriage is known beforehand to pass through a tunnel with restrictions for carriage of dangerous goods, the transport unit shall display orange-coloured plates…”. Switzerland took this to mean that the need to respect the tunnel provisions only applies when it is known beforehand that a consignment will pass through a tunnel to which restrictions apply.
Again, the Working Party agreed with Switerland’s reasoning and adopted the proposed text, so that the second indent of SP 363(I) will read:
- The transport unit shall display orange-coloured plates according to 5.3.2 and the tunnel restrictions according to 8.6.4 apply. The orange-coloured plates according to 5.3.2 are not necessary where the carriage is known beforehand not to pass through a tunnel with restrictions for carriage of dangerous goods.
Switzerland also proposed a change to clarify whether, for a transport unit containing both goods for which a tunnel code is assigned in Table A and goods for which ‘(—)’ is indicated instead of a tunnel restriction code, only the goods having a tunnel code should be considered for the prohibition of passage. Clarification would involve another change to 18.104.22.168.1(k) and a Note to the Table in 8.6.4.
There was some support for the idea but it was generally felt that it would be most appropriate to make the change in the section on the application of tunnel restrictions in Chapter 8.6. Switzerland was invited to review its proposal in light of the comments made.
Another proposal from Switzerland revolved around the transport by post of Class 7 excepted packages with limited activity, to align with provisions adopted by the Universal Postal Union (UPU). This proposal did not gain much support; in addition, it was noted that Switzerland had submitted a similar proposal to the UN Sub-committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) and it would be best to await the outcome of debate at the Sub-committee before making any changes specific to ADR.
Yet another paper from Switzerland offered the idea of requiring containers loaded both with fully regulated and limited quantity dangerous goods to be placarded with the limited quantity mark in addition to any other required hazard warning placards. The Working Party felt this was an issue for multimodal discussion, as it would certainly have a bearing on RID and ADN, while it was also noted that there would be implications for consignments including a sea voyage. Switzerland and Sweden were invited to put the matter first to the Joint Meeting.
A joint paper from Finland and Sweden revisited the issue of the use of more than one trailer in a transport unit. The main problem facing the proposal is that any provision to allow such vehicles for the carriage of dangerous goods would not be compatible with a number of EU directives on vehicle dimensions and weights. In addition, the definition of ‘transport unit’ in 1.2.1 of ADR would have to be amended, again bearing in mind other related agreements, conventions and directives. Finland and Sweden promised to consider the comments made but may submit a revised proposal.
Germany returned to the issue of the new footnote to 22.214.171.124.18, which had been agreed but put in square brackets pending revision of standard EN 13094. The note specifically addresses permissible variations in the cross-section of tank shells. Germany’s point was that ADR must be the basis for modifications to standards, not vice versa.
The footnote had been adopted at the 104th session with the intention that it would enter into force on 1 January 2021 but was placed in square brackets to draw attention to the need for detailed stipulations as to how local variations should be understood to guarantee safe construction. The UK confirmed that work was underway to amend EN 13094 along the same lines and that this would be discussed at the autumn Joint Meeting. The Working Party agreed to hold fire on a final decision, although the Secretariat noted that any change to the standard would have to be published by 1 June 2020 if it were to be considered in the list of amendments to take effect in 2021.
The UK proposed inclusion of a definition for ‘normal cubic metre’ so as to facilitate the correct interpretation of the exemptions related to the carriage of gases. The idea found support but there was disagreement about where the definition should go, as the term is only used in 126.96.36.199. In the end, it was decided to include it as a note ‘a’ in Note 1 to the table in 188.8.131.52 and will read:
1 Nm3 refers to a normal cubic metre: the amount of a gas occupying 1 m3 under temperature and pressure conditions of 0 °C and 1.01325 bar (0.101325 MPa).
Switzerland had not yet finished, and put forward an official document to support an informal document it provided late to the previous session. This described a real scenario in which a tank vehicle with three compartments, which had carried UN 1203 gasoline in one, was re-loaded with biodiesel after discharge. Bottom filling pushed gasoline vapour to the top of the compartment. The driver kept the tank markings specific to gasoline but was fined by police on the basis that he had not removed the ADR marking.
This case raised some issues. Firstly, is this procedure – i.e. not draining the piping or cleaning the tank between different loads – good practice and, if not, should it be specifically prohibited in ADR? Alternatively, given that the residual product in such cases can easily exceed 100 litres, should the practice be addressed in ADR in a similar way to that taken for additives in tank vehicles, as laid down in special provision 644.
After some discussion it was decided to refer the matter to the Joint Meeting; meanwhile, delegations were invited to consult with industry bodies to ascertain how they address such issues in practice.
Sweden returned to its worries about the supervision of vehicles and the clarity of the provisions in Chapter 8.5, where the additional requirements in S1(6), S16 and S21 state that a vehicle shall be “supervised at all times”. Having circulated a questionnaire to other contracting states, Sweden believed it difficult to define what is actually meant by ‘supervision’ but felt that matters could be helped by inserting a reference to the sercurity provisions in 1.10.3 into those ‘S’ paragraphs.
Several delegations supported the concept; however, the Working Party as a whole felt that more time was needed given the differences in scope between the requirements in 1.10.3 and in S1(6), S16 and S21; furthermore, the UN TDG Sub-committee is currently working on the list of high-consequence dangerous goods, which could have an influence.
On a related theme, Cefic proposed that competent authorities should provide the UN ECE Secretariat with details of the security features in the certificates they issue, to help other contracting parties. This suggestion was welcomed and Cefic was asked to work up a formal proposal.
In an informal document, Belarus proposed amending 184.108.40.206 to allow more scope for the size of fuel tanks, which is currently limited to 1,500 litres per transport unit. It felt that the need to carry fuel for refrigerated trailers, for example, means that such a limit becomes an obstacle to efficient transport. It proposed that the 1,500-litre limit should exclude fuel for trailers and any fuel carried in containers.
The Working Party recalled that Spain had made a similar proposal in 1992 and overall it was felt that there were no pressing arguments to reopen the matter. Some, though, made the point that there had recently been changes in the mass limits for gases and machinery. The representative of Belarus took note of the comments made and said that he would present an official document at the next session.
Luxembourg raised a question about the exemptions provided by 220.127.116.11 and particularly in sub-paragraph (c). Roadside inspections frequently identify unsuitable packaging being used for dangerous goods carried under this exemption; furthermore, it seems difficult for an individual who has not been trained in ADR to interpret the regulations.
Many of those in the Working Party agreed that the text of 18.104.22.168 should be clarified, although this issue should be addressed to the Joint Meeting. Luxembourg will follow up.
INTERPRETATION OF ADR
The Netherlands sought opinion on the meaning of the requirements for thermal insulation in 22.214.171.124.5, following its work to align the UN Model Regulations with ADR. Its question now was this: does the requirement for thermal insulation apply to the individual packages or to the transport unit? The opinion of the Working Party was that the methods listed in that paragraph for preventing the control temperature from being exceeded involve thermal insulation of vehicles and containers and not of packages.
France was trying to untangle the various definitions and uses of ‘transport unit’ in 126.96.36.199, Chapter 8.1 and 1.2.1. It had concluded that, even if 8.1.1 does not apply to a carriage performed according to 188.8.131.52, the definition of a transport unit does not allow the use of a unit comprising a dolly-axle. The response from the Working Party was that, indeed, combinations of vehicles to which a dolly and a semi-trailer are attached od not correspond to the definition of ‘transport unit’ in ADR. Therefore, ADR does not allow the use of a dolly, even for carriage according to 184.108.40.206.
Latvia sparked discussion of the certificate of approval for vehicles carrying certain goods, as specified in 220.127.116.11. Latvia does not include section 13, which provides for an extension to the certificate, since in such cases it merely issues a new certificate. This did not meet with the approval of the Working Party, which asked Latvia to incorporate the section as soon as possible.
France noted that 18.104.22.168 states that those dangerous goods that are indicated by ‘(—)’ in column (15) of the Dangerous Goods List “are not subject to any tunnel restriction”. However, competent authorities may impose restrictions on goods of UN 2919 and 3331 under a special arrangement in line with 22.214.171.124. France wondered if competent authorities could apply this approach to other goods. The answer from the Working Party was fairly simple: “no”.
The 107th session of WP15 was scheduled to take place from 11 to 15 November 2019. The Working Party asked Germany to present a report of the work of the informal working group for the clarification of 126.96.36.199, which covers the construction requirements for the body of EX/III vehicles. The Netherlands promised to present the progress of work on the use of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the context of the transport of dangerous goods.[post_title] => WP15: Awake at the wheel [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wp15-awake-at-the-wheel [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-10-29 17:51:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-10-29 17:51:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=12081 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
WP15's May session confirmed the decisions made by the Joint Meeting but had a whole lot more on its plate, with many amendments to ADR being adopted